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Kookii , 04 Feb 2009

Face Picking

I think I started face picking when I was 13, and I want to put a stop to my face picking... It's a disgusting habit I have and I hate seeing my face filled with scars in the morning. Even though I dislike what I'm doing to myself I just don't know how to stop. If anyone has any tips I would greatly appreciated it, if anyone knows of anything I can to do to help the current wounds and scars heal that would be extremely healpful aswell. Thank you for taking the time to read this -Kookii
7 Answers
February 06, 2009
Hi Kookii, I pick at my face, too. And I absolutely hate looking in the mirror and being so mad at myself for making it look so horrible. I guess I've noticed that I seem to pick almost unconsciously, especially when I'm on the phone, watching TV, or even on the internet and my other hand isn't doing anything else. I've found that I need to make myself aware of what my hands are doing at all times, and try to keep them busy. You could try playing with something, like a stress ball, silly putty, worry beads, etc., which could be a physical way of stopping yourself. I know that if I can keep my fingers off my skin to begin with, not picking is much easier, but once I've started the ball rolling it's a lot harder. Psychologically, there are many reasons why people do it, and how to treat it, and that's more complicated, if you want to get into the medication/therapy aspects. Read some more on this site and this forum and see what other people have done to try and help themselves, there's a lot of good ideas that do not involve doctors or drugs. As for helping the wounds/scars, other than trying not to touch them (which we all obviously have a problem with!!!) I know that a lot of times dermatologists prescribe Retin-A for acne scarring and even sun spots, if that could be an option for you. I tried it once a long time ago and wasn't able to use it, but I know it works for a lot of people. As a natural product, aloe is very soothing to skin for many things, maybe it would help your skin to heal. I've seen aloe heal a severe burn overnight, and I even used to drink aloe juice when I had stomach problems to help heartburn! You can use it on skin right from the inside of the plant leaves, or buy it as a gel in a bottle. I know there are many products in the skin care aisles of supermarkets that could probably be of use also. I personally don't use anything to help the scarring, I just hope it will heal on its own, but I also have acne and use a topical antibiotic everyday, so my options for using something else are pretty limited. If you are really worried about long term scarring, I would go see a dermatologist. They would be the most knowledgeable on what could help. But if they try to tell you to take something orally, they are full of BS! Don't listen to them in that case. Doctors love to push drugs. If seeing a doc is not a possibility, try asking a pharmacist what they would recommend. Pharmacists are usually extremely nice and helpful, and do not have an agenda, so they'll tell you the truth! Hope I may have helped give you some ideas. Best of luck to you!
February 06, 2009
Hey Kookii, I started picking my face when I was about 11, and getting bad acne in my teens made it so much worse! So I definitely feel for you!!! However, after years of trying a million different strategies, I have finally made a lot of success in the past months. From spending hours a day picking my face and body, and constantly feeling ashamed and miserable and embarassed with myself, I'm now in a place where overall I don't pick -- or feel the need to -- and my skin is getting more and more beautiful. I also have the confidence to wear bikinis and v-neck shirts... and all those nice things that 'normal people' (haha) take for granted! But a few questions for you... Do you actually have acne? Or just pick at little nothings that in turn get infected and such? Do you have anyone in your immediate life that knows about this issue of yours? And how serious it is for you? And what kind of strategies have you tried so far to stop yourself??? So if you want, answer these questions and then I'd love to share my tactics and experiences with you, and maybe they'll work for ya :) Rosie
February 06, 2009

In reply to by rosie

My mother and my boyfriend are the only ones that know really, I have a tendancy to cover my cuts ands scars up with make up. I know it's damaging my skin more to cover them up with make up but I hate going outside with cuts and scars on my face. I use to pick at my arms but I eventually stopped and it began again on my face. I don't really realize when I do start picking at my skin, I got long fake nails before it helped me stop for awhile. But I really dislike fake nails ^^; so I removed them quickly they bother me when I'm writting notes in my classes. I really would like to stop picking at my skin.. I think one of the reasons I do pick at my skin is because I'm not very expressive of my thoughts and feelings. I'm afraid to insult people and I worry if I do. Over the past few months my picking has gotten worse, and I think it could be linked with situations I've been placed in I dislike.
February 11, 2009

In reply to by Kookii

Hey Kookii, How do you think you can become more expressive? And don't hurt yourself just so that you don't say something that hurts someone elses feelings... you can feel free to be honest and expressive, just try to choose your words wisely so that you're obviously not trying to insult someone. And keep in mind that whatever you tell someone about how your feeling or whatever feedback you give someone, THEY own their own reaction and response to it. So if someone chooses to feel hurt or insulted, it's not your fault. They COULD have choosen to try to understand why you feel a certain way, or just to brush off whatever you expressed. So really, you don't have to worry about people's reactions or anything, because what they feel is their choice :) And maybe some of my tactics that I've tried over the years might help you (and I've learned to change my behaviour, not just how to mend my wounds quicker)... The things that I'm doing now that really work for me are: Not getting closer than a normal person does to the mirror, so no leaning to or sitting on the bathroom counter for me anymore!! I've also got rid of all my cover up and foundation (well, one of them my husband smashed, lol), so whatever I pick I know I can't cover it up in the morning, I'll have to embark into my day with whatever marks I created --- and I must say knowing this reallllllly helps. Also, I have 5 rules for myself that my husband and I came up with one by one as I needed them, and now all together I always have them in my mind, and I just picked like once in the last 3 weeks which is great, and I was able to stop myself shortly after I started... My rules that I live by are (1) No one will judge me by my skin (and if they do then I don't need them in my life); (2) Picking ALWAYS causes more stress than it relieves!! (3) I am changing for myself because I want to feel beautiful; (4) Each pimple I pick means a mark for a week or so, so even picking 1 a day adds up to a face full of marks. (5) Even if I'm tired, ALL rules still apply and I stay out of the bathroom! And some things that I've tried in the past that have had temporary relief, but maybe more for you: I've used pen and written messages of love on my body where I pick (probably not the best idea on your face though), and I've gotten rid of all pocket mirrors and stuff, except for the bathroom mirror. Also, on days where I feel really picky I shower and brush my teeth and pee and everything in the dark or by candle light so I can't pick. I'll even time myself in the shower so that I have that in mind and can't doddle and pick. I hope some of these help.... It's hardest in the healing stage, but once the marks are healing and you start feeling beautiful, it gets much easier to not pick because you know how nice it is to feel beautiful!
February 11, 2009
Hi Kookii, i've been picking my face since I was 13 and i've just turned 24, if I could only stop touching my face and spreading the bacteria I know I would have beautiful skin like the rest of my body, I just get so frustrated when the results are not immediate. There are a few things I have used that have helped alot, melonin pads which help knit the wound together, and also mean you can't get at the spot, savlon of all things put on liberally over night, and I have just started to use a mixture of manuka honey and cinammon which I have found is really helping, along with drinking lots and lots of water. Good luck x
February 14, 2009
I am 31 years old and never realized that what I do to my skin has a name and that so many others deal with this. For me, it's just how I am. It's part of my life. I have been tearing at my skin (that's what I call it) for most of my life--I literally can't pinpoint exactly when it began. I know that even as a kid I would pick at scabs preventing them from healing. I've lost hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life picking at and digging into my skin. I look like a spotted leopard with all of the scars covering my face, chest, arms, and legs. I know the shame and self-hatred that come with the endorphin high after several hours of picking. Covered in blood and wanting to stop but after washing my face, it just starts up again.... I have only one thing that ever clearly worked for me, and a few ideas/speculations. The only solid tip that I have is unfortunately a drug that was actually prescribed for bipolar II disorder. But, as with many things, sometimes you need a temporary solution to help you find a permanent one. Skin covered with infected sores is a whole lot more tempting than smooth, clear skin. When I was prescribed Zyprexa for bipolar II disorder, I found that it also completely eliminated the compulsion to pick. My skin completely cleared up--it was truly amazing. The drug also eliminated my tic disorder, which includes both physical and vocal tics (and a breathing tic). I've never been diagnosed with Tourette's or anything, but I later learned that Zyprexa is sometimes used for that as well. Additionally, it helped control the bulemia that controlled me for about 10 years of my life. I believe that all three things, the picking, the tics, and the bulemia are all part of this compulsion disorder that I have. My highest dose was 10 mg/day which decreased all the way to 1.75 mg/day. Even at this tiny dose, the compulsions and tics were greatly decreased--though still present. Zyprexa has it's share of problems, and docs are hesitant to prescribe it because of lawsuits, but I credit the drug (and my therapist of 9 years) with saving my life (due to bipolar) and making life more enjoyable (without the compulsions). When I got married a couple of years ago, I quit the Zyprexa completely in anticipation of getting pregnant. All I took (and still take) was an antidepressant, Wellbutrin. It was interesting to me that none of the compulsions were very bad during pregnancy except for a bad coughing tic. This trend continued during breastfeeding for 13 months. Now that my daughter has been weaned for 5 months, the picking has gotten out of control. It's pretty much as bad as it ever was--losing sleep while picking for hours at a time. Sores that don't heal because I don't let them. I look horrible. Sadly, the Wellbutrin could be increasing the compulsions, but I would be non-functional without it. At this time, I don't want to take the Zyprexas (in the hopes of becoming pregnant again). Now, for the ideas... Sometimes I can get in and out of the bathroom at night if I focus myself on my nightly ritual--sometimes. But, it's when I'm not focused that this stupid disorder holds me hostage. I know that it, like the bipolar, which are both currently untreated, will be with me for the rest of my life. One thing I do know is that nutrition plays and extremely important role in the bipolar, and I wonder how much it may have to do with the compulsions as well. This would explain the pregnancy/breastfeeding phenomenon as my nutrition was amazing because I was doing it for my daughter. (So amazing that I lost all of the 75 pounds that I gained while taking Zyprexa) Now that I'm not breastfeeding or pregnant, I have gotten very careless with how I eat and I suspect that I'm paying the price. Suspect ingredients that I avoided during pregnancy, but consume daily now: high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors (esp yellow 5 and 6) and flavors, and sodium benzoate. Those are the big ones--there were other small ones that I avoided as well. Basically, I ate whole and pure--fruits, veggies, rice, etc. I felt and looked great. I also suspect MSG (and all of the substances related), but I stay away from many of those because they really make me sick. Just in case anyone is wondering, my daughter is 18 months old, healthy, happy, and just wonderful. I do worry that she will inherit all of my problems, although I don't know how much was hereditary and how much was environment. I also worry about the effects of the Wellbutrin that was taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding--under the guide and suggestion of three doctors--though so far all seems well. I know she would be very different in a bad way if I had not taken it. Nevertheless, she receives the same amazing nutrition now that she did in utero in the hopes that it will help reduce or prevent any future problems. Well, I've already said more than I intended, but I'm just not used to having a chance to talk about this. The only folks who know are my family and my doctors. Everyone else just thinks I have an ongoing case of the chickenpox or the mosquitoes really hate me.
February 20, 2009
Wow. I just happened to find this site and I'm filled with a HUGE sense of relief that I am not the only one going through this. I am a NONSTOP face picker. I am constantly touching my face to the point that I'm bleeding. It doesn't matter where I am, who I'm with, or what I'm doing...I'm always picking. I hate that I pick. It's so disgusting. I know we can all agree that it only makes us look worse, which makes me feel so guilty that I'm inflicting this upon myself. It's such a rush and calms me down, HOWEVER, it leaves me feeling embarrassed and ashamed. I think I need help. Any tips anyone? I definitely love the ones I've read so far. I just don't know how strong my will power is. I really want to stop though. This has been going on since I was 10.

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